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How to Make Small Altar Cloths for CGS

Easy sewing project to outfit your church's Catechesis of the Good Shepherd Atrium with small altar cloths in all six liturgical colors. Beginner-level project to make altar cloths to cover a tabletop 10" x 15" (table shown is also 10" tall). Fabric can be ordered from this website (link below), and remaining materials can be found at most stores that carry sewing notions (suggestions below). Finished product is a very fine-looking and -feeling product that will attract the attention of your little Catechists!




  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine
  • Sewing pins/clips

Sewing Instructions

Prepare the fabric

1. Machine wash warm or cool with phosphate-free detergent on a gentle or delicate cycle. Fabric may have a funny feel ("inky") when it arrives, and washing it solves that.

2. Machine dry on a low heat setting. 

Cut out the Cloths

1. From the yard of five 15" x 20" rectangles, cut along the edge of each pattern so that you have five of the six cloths cut out. (You will have some fabric leftover.)

2. Cut a piece from the gold fat quarter that is 15" x 20" (or use one of the other cloths as a pattern). Consider using the leftovers to make something else for the Atrium.

Make the Cloths

1. Sew a zig-zag stitch with white thread along the edges of the fabric to prevent any fraying in the future.

2. Carefully trim the end of the fringe, tying knots where needed to keep the fringe from falling apart. Fold the fringe (along with any threads keeping the fringe together) under itself about 1/4"-1/2" so that it will be secured when you sew it to the cloth.

3. Place the fringe on the edge of the cloth in the middle of a long side of the cloth rectangle, so the top (secured) edge of the fringe is on the cloth and the fringe is flowing freely below the edge of the fabric.

4. Using a zig-zag stitch and gold thread, sew the fringe to the edge of the fabric. You may not need many pins/clips, since it's "all hands on deck" for this part. The velvet and fringe are slippery; sew slowly and carefully, continually smoothing the velvet and straightening the fringe as you go. At the corners, simply fold the fringe 90* at the corner and keep on sewing all the way back to the beginning.

5. When you get a few inches from the starting point, estimate how much more fringe you'll need and carefully cut it from the remainder of your fringe. (Put a piece of tape or a clip over the raw edge of the remining fringe so it doesn't unravel!) Fold the end under itself and match the folded edge to the starting point, sewing over the joined area and backstitching.

6. Pull the ends of the fringe out of the plastic loops at the bottom by gently pulling a pinch-ful of fringe out of it at a time.

7. Bring to your Atrium and enjoy the fruit of your labor!

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